Choosing a foundation can feel like an overwhelming task – how will you ever decide which brand, formula, coverage or shade?! I am totally right there with you. I have been wearing foundation for the last four years or so, and am certainly no expert, but I have gathered a few tips along the way I would like to share with you when figuring out how to best even out your skin tone and create a canvas for your masterpieces.
- Match to your chest, NOT your face. Sounds counterintuitive, I know, but trust me. One time I had a gorgeous tan all over my body but I use such intense SPF on my face that it was a few shades lighter than my body. I chose that day to go shopping, and the result was a foundation that perfectly blended into my face but I looked like a floating head, like my face didn’t belong with the rest of my body. You want all of your skin to be the same shade, so match to your chest and shoulders. Even your neck can be a different shade, so don’t trust that either!
- Get Samples. Now this applies to higher end or luxury foundations, as drugstores and Ultas (sadly) don’t give them out. Ask one of the experts who work at makeup counters or Sephora to color match you – it only takes a few minutes and generally, they nail it. A good color match will involve using a few shades and placing them on your jawline, and seeing what looks best with the rest of your body. If you can’t get a sample and are buying drugstore, a bunch of places have very liberal return policies and will take foundations back if they don’t work for you. Take a minute to review the return or exchange policy if you’re unsure about your purchase, or just ask them when you check out.
- Choose the right formulation for your skin type and undertone. There are a million different buzzwords for foundations…matte, glowy, sheer, and full-coverage. What do these all mean? Everyone’s skin is different and will react to foundations their own way, but general rule of thumb is that matte formulas are better for oily skin, and dewy formulas are better for dry skin. When your skin is producing oils, you don’t need a foundation with a ton of glow factor to make you look like an oil slick. Nor do you need to further dry your skin out with something more matte. Additionally, skin runs warm, cool or neutral so look up a few videos on YouTube to help determine which undertone you have to help you select a shade.
- Find a primer that fits your needs. If you’re lizard dry or have texture or can’t stop producing oil, find a primer that will properly prep your skin for foundation. There are primers everywhere now, and many that are affordable. I’ve found great success with a spray by NYX, Glossier’s Priming Moisturizer & Too Faced’s HangoveRx primers. They’re all on the more moisturizing side, which is perfect for me, but do some research and find one that works for you.
- Google reviews & swatches. This is where your smartphone comes in particularly handy – you can always, ALWAYS find me in the aisles of makeup stores or Target looking up foundations. I like to see what people with my skin type think of a product, what that shade actually looks like on human skin (cause you can’t trust it just in the bottle) and people’s thoughts on it’s lasting power, application, etc. Google is the greatest tool, and can help you with all kinds of cosmetics, especially lip products!
- Remember, your skin needs change, and so will your foundation! Your skin is an organ and will change, particularly with the seasons (if you experience them where you live). Listen to your skin and what it needs. Keep a few different kinds of foundations in different shades in your collection to anticipate those needs.
The most important tip to keep in mind is that makeup is all about Trial and Error. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. Test products out, play with formulations and talk to your friends about what they like. Keep receipts and make returns, there’s no need to hang onto products that don’t work for you cause that ish can be expensive. Do you have any tips for choosing foundations? Leave a comment below; let’s help each other out!